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tv   [untitled]    July 28, 2012 2:00am-2:30am PDT

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want someone who has experience in design, construction, and inspection and in order to get illegal benefit to get that lawsuit on that 90-based day, your consol needs to be certified by the state of california under unruh. the need to be familiar with the accessibility guidelines of 1994 and 2010. and the california building code. my recommendations for business owners when they are interviewing is to ask them about their background and not just rely on the resume. to ask them how many casp inspections and ask for references and follow up by calling the reference and visiting the business. it is helpful if the inspector works with an attorney who can provide legal advice and if they work with the contractor to provide some construction estimates to go with those recommendations. the inspectors should also
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pulled in full building permit history and include a summary in order to a understand the context or previous triggers for access under the california building code. the inspector should identify all the barriers but be capable of identifying those problems and solutions. an inspector should help the business to a simple plan for very removal that is tailored to their site and their financial circumstances. not everybody is the same. what can we do in the city to help? the more that we can do to get information to the hands of the small business owner, the more likely the owner will be able to tackle the problem in a rational and methodical fashion. that is why supervisor chiu's legislation is helpful, it calls for the landlord and tenant to work together and the first step is acknowledging there is an access problem. i have one example.
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our previous speaker mentioned it as well. in san francisco, over 80% of our buildings were built before 1970. when our first -- first access code went into effect. the percentages are higher for the number of buildings built before 1990. when the ada was adopted. many have an interest at -- an entrance that opens onto the street and they have a step that makes it extremely difficult for wheelchair to enter. the tenant has to make a permanent change to the building. under the legislation, a landlord might choose to take that task on themselves to exert some control over the solution. fixing a problem like a step can be complicated. the building may have historic significance, so the building permit would have to be reviewed by the planning department and there could be some limitations about the changes you have made to the upside. or the solution to the step might mean you have to do some work on the sidewalk in the
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public right-of-way and request a minor sidewalk encouragement. in some cases, the solution to that step might have an impact on the building structure. the foundation or the flore frame. -- floor frame. you might have to juggle the requirements of three different said the agencies, building inspection, planning, and public works. in our office -- our office has done with the work -- done w ork to talk about how we can coordinate our efforts. regina dickerson has promoted our brochures but the department can do more and develop a process for resolving conflicts when access is the goal. one idea would be to establish a prepublication building process -- permit process for you ask
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the departments to come together and we and on how the different proposed -- weigh in on how the different proposed solutions will be affected by the codes. my closing thoughts for a small- business owner is that the corrective, that you keep records because once they have started to do the work, once they have put together the plan for the work they intend to do, you need to be able to demonstrate that good faith effort that you are addressing your obligations that are readily achievable. and if the business owner does receive a demand letter, they should consult with an attorney immediately. when you send your response, including a brief summary of the good work that you have done at your property. show that you have taken this seriously and you have a plan for the future. actually, i have heard the small
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businesses that have gotten the casp report and posted the certificate in the window are not the ones that are getting hit with these most recent lawsuits because i think these attorneys are in many cases more interested in their fees and they go on to the next low hanging fruit. thank you, supervisors. supervisor mar: thank you. the next speaker is from the department of building inspection. we also have a handout from -- there is a number of handouts in front of us. >> thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. i am building inspector thomas fessler, representing the department of building inspection. it is a local agency with the authority to enforce the california building code with
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the san francisco amendments. disabled access requirements are generally found in chapters 11a housing, and 11b, public buildings. accommodation in commercial buildings with publicly founded -- funded housing. because the focus of the hearing is addressing small businesses, i will amend my amar -- remarks to chapter 11. -- 11b. dbi enforces the requirements only during planning review and construction of building permits. all the buildings need to comply with all the codes within the california building code. including the accessibility requirements found in chapter 11b. the buildings are covered under section -- of the code. when repairs are made, they
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shall require -- comply with all the requirements. when the department finds this could create a hardship, clients will be limited to the actual work. the exception is recognized and unreasonable hardship would exist if the cost of compliance exceed 20% of the cost of oppression. under some conditions in existing buildings with enforcing agency determines the compliance with any regulation would create an unreasonable hardship and the exception shall be granted when equivalent facilitation is provided. within the san francisco building code, the
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administrative bulletins have been adopted in order to recognize this and under specific existing site conditions, one equivalent -- one equivalent [unintelligible] is provided, the administrative bulletin allows for the use of power door operators and level landings at doors. if the equivalent facilitation cannot be obtained, within the specific conditions found in the administrative bulletins, the permit applicant can appeal to that -- to the access appeals commission. the commission can approve various methods of providing equivalent facilitation on a case by case basis. the department of building inspection does not specifically in force the ad -- enforce the ada.
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most requiring accessibility meet or exceed the ada standards. building owners and tenants are required to provide reasonable accommodations to the person with disabilities with or without a building permit. it should be emphasized that there is no exemption or grandfathering of existing conditions within buildings. property owners and tenants are required to provide reasonable accommodations. the code or providing equal facilitation. pbi has provided training in two sections within the past year and more training is planned this year. the casp certified inspectors will be utilized as technical
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experts for the staff and the public when accessibility questions arise. they will be placed throughout the department to facilitate compliance with the code and provide information and training for staff and public. the department is encouraged by actions taken by the division's state architect to amend chapter 11b in order to make the california building code a safe harbor with respect to ada standards. supervisor mar: can i bring back to the casp inspectors? how many are there and how many are seeking certification at the state level? >> currently, there is one certified state inspector. there is another person who has taken the exam but they are
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waiting for the results. that should come any day. and -- that is my knowledge of who is certified at this point, but the department is working toward getting more people certified as casp. so, this issue with the casp certification has gone up to the state level. the state architect, there is a new code cycle coming up in 2013 for the california building code. and it is a matter standing that the division state architect is using the 2010 ada standards as of the model to base the california building code, sections in chapter 11 b to
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the federal and state requirements. supervisor mar: how often do you allow disability access waivers? >> again, that is one of the terms that i would like everybody to try to stay away from. there is no waivers when it comes to disabled access. you can either provide equivalent facilitation or you can apply for financial hardship based on cost constraints, legal constraints, or physical constraints of the building. there is always a requirement under both the california law
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and ada to provide access in the building and vernon. supervisor mar: and/or -- and your dbi bolten gives voters a sense of past modifications and what the hon. hardship or the process of -- unreasonable hardship for the process of -- allows someone to understand what modifications have been made over time in a small business? >> a good example is a level landing at the front entrance of a small retail shop. when you get that situation, you have this -- there is an administrative bulletin in the san francisco amendments that would allow for youtube place power to operators in -- allow
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you to place power to operators. in that situation, if you -- it would allow us to approve it, you are providing an equivalent facilitation. you are not providing the exact code language accessibility standards but what you are doing is providing something that would be considered the equivalent to facilitation because it is not a new building. the ada and california building code addresses that potential in the existing building that you would be able to provide access using by means other than the specific requirements within the code. the department over the years has to find a few different situations in the city --
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defined a few different situations in the city that occurs that we can administratively approve that is -- that the person is providing the equivalent facilitation when they meet all those requirements. supervisor mar: thank you. >> ok, so when approving plans and performing field inspections, dbi's field inspection is limited to inspection of public and private property. aspects of the work require approval from various city departments. most notably department of public works and the department of city planning. better communication between the departments would provide a more efficient process and divorce --
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accessible city. small-business owners, property owners, and design professionals are encouraged by the department of building inspection to contact us. any questions related to disabled access in compliance with the california building code and the san francisco amendments. the department looks forward to looking -- working with stakeholders and providing technical support, small businesses' needs while providing the access required for persons with disabilities. if you have any questions. supervisor mar: any questions? thank you. >> thank you. supervisor mar: our next speaker is zachary nathan, and we have a handout in front of us.
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thank you for being with us. >> good afternoon. my name is zachary nathan. i am a president of the rewachand -- richmond district. i will be discussing the following six topics. what is a casp, casp inspections, benefits of a casp instea -- inspection, results of a local surf break, and the status of the -- a local survey,
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and status. what is a casp? the california did our men -- division of the state architect trained experts in disability requirements known as certified access specialists. most are building inspectors, architects, contractors, engineers, and people with extensive background in access issues. they must meet minimum qualifications. they must pass a multiple choice test about codes and standards, access issues, planned -- plan review, and fill the shoes. they have to pay fees and there is a continuing education
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requirements. so that we keep abreast of what is happening in the field of disabled access. there is 430 casps in california but not all do access service. -- a casp survey of a public accommodation will result in one of two conclusions. either casp inspected or a casp determination pending. supervisor mar: mr. nathan, you said there were 430 casp inspectors in california? do you know how many are in san francisco? >> there are at least two in the room today and in addition to that i think there's maybe 20 or so in san francisco. but not all do surveys. there's one at san francisco state university. he doesn't do surveys. there are many others as well.
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so what does casp inspected mean? for a casp inspected sight, the casp provides a written report that includes a statement that in the opinion of the casp the inspected structures and areas of the site meet construction-related accessibility standards. if corrections were made as a result of the inspection, an itemized list of all the items and date of completion and an assessment of readily achievable barrier reviewable. for a cans -- casp determination pending site, if the casp determines that corrections are needed the casp provides a signed and dated written inspection report to the requested party that includes the following -- a statement that in the opinion of the cans
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-- casp the areas of it have site need correction to meet accessibility standards. a statement of corrections made within a reasonable time frame. whether the determination of the casp includes an assessment of readily achievable variable removal. for all inspected sites, the tenant is reared to get a report indicating that the site has been inspected by a certified access specialist, which may be posted on the site. i'm showing an example of the new certificate that just came out. it was just available. so what are the minimum requirements for a casp report? well, for a valid report, there has to be a date of evaluation, the name and contact information of the individual requesting the
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inspection. the name and address of the property being inspected. a statement of casp determination pending orcas inspected. when applicable a list of items that were corrected for casp inspected. a list of noncompliant features. a statement on whether it includes an assessment on readily achievable barrier removal. a schedule for completion of corrections of noncompliant items to attach to the report. a notice to the property owner regarding the safekeeping of the casp reports and a casp signature and casp number so that's the very minimum. that's the baseline. these are some additional recommendations that i have for a more exrensive casp report. there are a lot of differences
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also, not only in the content of the reports but also in how thoroughly the surveys are performed, accuracy of measurements and the cost. so in my recommendations i include a summary of existing conditions and property description. scope of the survey, whether it's just the common areas or the entire building or some specific area. a list of the published standards, guidelines to which the facility is being evaluated. might be a.d.a. and california building codes. a list of noncompliant features. a permit history and description of applicable codes in effect at the time of the permit. recommendations or options of how to remove the barriers. if applicable, an explanation of the terms readyly achievable barrier removal, technical feasible hardship, photographs
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of the site conditions. illustration of guidelines. plans to have building if available and items provided by contractors. the next issue is the construction related accessibility standards compliance act professions. also known as the s.b. 1608. this is where it's already been mentioned that you ask -- can have a 90-day stay of any legal action against you. businesses much had accessibility services performed by a casp before and i emphasize the world before the defendant is served with a summons and complaint. there's a state legislative analyst opinion on this and it says that it is our opinion that a written inspection report must be completed by a casp in order for defendant in any action that includes a construction related
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accessibility claim to become entitled to relief under the provisions of the act. i think mr. gong has already talked about the multiple damages issue so i'm going to skip over that one. one of the benefits of a -- what are the benefits of a casp sur sigh i -- survey? you get a 90-day stay from taking further action. less likelihood of litigation if casp report is completed. certificate posted and barriers are removed. completion of a casp survey demonstrates a good faith effort and when architectural barriers are removed, customers with disabilities will be able to access and use the services of the business and bring their friends and relatives.
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i think it's good for business. what is the cazzie or certified access specialist institute? it's an organization of california certified access specialists with about 150 members so it's a little bit less than 1/3 of the members of the casp or cazzie mention. its mission is to be the voice of access professionals as well as a resource for both members and public. the goals include be an authoritative source, be a recognized leader for knowledge and imply men station of local, state, and federal sk -- access codes and laws. promote as a credible voice for quality standards of practice, and serve -- sorry. next one. promote access awareness,
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collaborate with government and advocacy organizations to promote access awareness and this is the casi website. so if someone does need a casp, that's a casi casp, they can look on that website to find someone that is in that group. the next thing i'd like to do -- supervisor mar: that's good website. >> yeah, very quick. i wanted to show some examples of san francisco situations this. first one has some stores on cleyent street. our project was permitted by the public works. they granted the permit and the city would not allow the sidewalk to be raised to the level of interior floors at each
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shop. even though this was the most coast-effective solution. it was blocked by a neighboring property owner. the next example is one that is on a hillie street, which we have all over san francisco with steep slopes at a store front entrance. and in my experience, the department of public works has been very helpful in working with their owners and design professionals in providing access solutions such as this one. and the third example is a situation where there was a very steep ramp on 24th street at a store entrance. and before it was 18% slope and i worked with the owner to reduce it to an 8% slope and use power operated doors to comply with codes. supervisor mar: mr. nathan, what was the solution to example one where the city board of appeals wouldn't allow the sidewalk raising. what did the four retail shops
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do or what was the solution? >> unfortunately the owner has stopped -- as far as i know they stopped the permit process and i don't know what their plans are. they just said they don't want to pursue it any further. that was done from an architectural practice, not with my casp practice. so what is the status of the casp program? it's been in effect for nearly four years now. thousands of surveys have been done statewide. the california commission on disability access is reviewing how effective the program is and we're fortunate to have a recently appointed member. and scott is a member of the california admission with us today. the ccda is developing a survey checklist for use of building sp